The Illinois Fighting Illini handed the #6 Georgia Lady Bulldogs their first loss of the season on Friday night, 70-59.
History repeated itself on Friday. This is because the last time the Illini had defeated a team ranked in the top six was on January 5th, 2000 against a #5 Georgia team. Georgia came into this game as one of the nation’s seven undefeated teams.
After the game, Georgia’s head coach Andy Landers said “I told the kids at halftime that what happened in the first half was the absolute best thing that could ever happen to them. It clearly tells you that if you don’t come out and respond to a challenge, you’ll get buried. We got buried tonight.” (Source: fightingillini.com)
Illinois led Georgia by only seven points after Khaalidah Miller made two 3-pointers during a late first half run before halftime. In the second half, Miller made another 3 pointer to pull the Lady Bulldogs within two points and Jasmine James helped with two free throws to tied the game at 52-all with 7:09 left in the game.
However, Illinois’ senior forward Karisma Penn made sure that the Lady Bulldogs did not come back in this game. Penn finished with yet another double-double as she scored 27 points and hauled in 19 rebounds.
Penn was the key player behind the Fighting Illini’s 13-5 run after Georgia tied the game at 52. She scored 11 points and helped Illinois out to a 65-57 second half lead.
Illinois also received nice performances from senior guard Adrienne GodBold and junior guard Amber Moore. GodBold played her first game of the season on Friday night after regaining her eligibility. Both Gonbold and Moore finished with 11 points in the game.
Despite being upset, the Lady Bulldogs had three players in double figures. Senior Jasmine Hassel scored 13 points while Miller and James both had 17 points each.
The Fighting Illini are now 7-5 on the season.
Their next game will be their first Big Ten conference game against the Purdue Boilermakers on January 2nd. Purdue is 11-1 overall and the game will be their first Big Ten Conference game as well. They defeated IUPUI 78-53 in their last game, but will play #5 Notre Dame on December 29th.
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